5 Steps to Make Your Resolutions a Reality

We all know the deal, the new year comes, we promise ourselves we will be better people and accomplish X amount of goals and then a month later we are back to our normal routine with nothing accomplished and an overwhelming sense of disappointment. At least that’s how it goes in my life. I start my year off with so much fire and energy and then it quickly dwindles with each passing day. So how can we actually accomplish our resolutions this New Year and make lasting changes? Well let me be the first to tell you, I am no expert, I am trying to make these changes right along with you. A little over a year ago I became truly bothered by my procrastination, laziness, and lack of productivity. Finally after making a lot of mistakes and honestly getting worse, I can now say I’m getting better about taking action to accomplish my goals. I am able to do better by way of prayer and wise counsel but I am still improving in this area. Here are some tips that have helped me so far:

  1. Eliminate the barriers. The first step to making lasting changes is to reflect on what has gotten in the way in the past. If you don’t address what hindered your progress in the past, it will continue to block you in the future. For me it was anxiety and insecurities that stopped my progress in a lot of areas. I had to address those issues before I could move on to accomplishing goals. Some ways you can eliminate the barriers is to first think back to some of your unaccomplished goals, what was it that got in the way? Most of the time it is laziness or lack of motivation but sometimes deeper issues can get in the way like depression or anxiety. You may actually find that when you identify the barriers, that you unearth the root of many of your problems. If this is the case, you may want to consider getting professional help to address those issues before you move forward with the goals on your list. If it is the case that you are trying to overcome laziness and you are struggling to get the motivation to follow through with your resolutions, the next few points might be able to help.

  1. Take action, even when you don’t feel like it. For me, the hardest part is just finding the motivation to start but once I do, everything flows fairly smoothly. This year if you want to make lasting changes, you will need to practice taking action to accomplish your goals. When you think about waiting or ceasing action on your goals all together, identify what might be holding you back, call it out, remind yourself of the costs, and try to push through it. There is so much power in calling out your areas of weakness and reminding yourself of what you will lose if you do not take action. For instance if you know you are supposed to be working out twice a week and you don’t feel like it, call it out! If you can say to yourself “I do not feel like working out this week but I know that is laziness and I know I will be derailing my progress if I don’t” it can help you face whatever is holding you back, head on, and talk yourself into action. They say the more you do, the more you can do. When you make the effort to take action, even when it’s hard, even when you’re scared, even when there’s opposition then you are producing momentum. That momentum will continue to build and it can carry you through to actually accomplish your goals, as long as you continue to choose action over idleness.

  1. Incorporate accountability. If you have trouble taking action on your own then you may need to incorporate accountability into your routine. When I first got saved, my goal was to read my bible every day. For months struggled to get the motivation to start and continue reading my bible regularly but this was something that I knew I needed to do for my spiritual growth. Finally after months of slowly increasing my bible studies on my own, I decided to ask my roommate to do bible studies together. Once I became accountable to my roommate, it was so much easier to actually have daily bible studies and it was also much more engaging than doing it by myself. You can incorporate accountability in a couple of ways. One of the easiest ways is by telling someone about your goals and establishing check-ins on your progress. You could take accountability to another level by working with a friend who is trying to accomplish the same goal as you. Working with a partner or a group to accomplish a goal can help you feel a sense of responsibility to actively participate in accomplishing the goal and it could also cultivate motivating comradery. Another way you can incorporate accountability is by establishing an accountability partner. This goes beyond working on a specific goal with a friend. An accountability partner will be there to keep you accountable for several areas in your life that you struggle to stay on track. Often, in turn, you keep that person accountable as well. It is best for an accountability partner to have the same general goals and values as you so that they will be more inclined to hold you accountable to the things that are important to you. So however you choose to incorporate it, accountability can be a very helpful tool to keep you on track.

  1. Get organized. Organization is key when it comes to being productive and accomplishing goals. First of all it is important to plan out your goals and create a timeline in which you want to complete those goals. Add the deadlines to your calendar to keep you on schedule. You might also want to break down your goals into small achievable tasks and add those specific tasks to your calendar or a to-do list. You can also organize your goals in terms of your priorities. If you have 10 resolutions for the New Year you can categorize them in terms of importance, feasibility, short-term vs long-term and so on. Determining priority helps you focus and set your sights on the goals that make the most sense to address at that time. Done right, organization can be a very useful tool to accomplish your goals this year.

  1. Reward yourself. If intrinsic motivation and accountability are not enough, rewards might be helpful for you. Once you have a timeline and you break down your goals into small easy to accomplish tasks, you can reward yourself for accomplishing those tasks! The rewards should be something that will motivate you. A tip about incorporating rewards is that you want to establish rewards that you would enjoy but at the same time do not contradict your goals. So if your goal is to stay sober, it probably would not be a good idea to reward yourself with a drink. Self-care rewards are the best if you can implement them into your routine. Self-care is about taking time to treat yourself and address the needs that you have, as you might do for others. Often we get into a habit of working and taking care of others but we forget to take care of ourselves. Self-care activities would be things like getting doing an activity you enjoy, getting a massage, or having a night out with friends. Rewards are fun ways to boost motivation to accomplish your goals!

I hope that these tips prove useful for you as you embark on this New Year.  My goals this year are to be intentional about trusting God, dying to self, and being productive in all that I do. I plan to incorporate all of these tips into my everyday practice so that I can make my resolutions a reality.

Action Steps: Remember it’s okay to struggle and have set-backs on the path toward achieving your goals. If that happens, keep going, stay accountable, get organized, and reward yourself along the way. We can make this year a great one if we try our best and through our efforts we are able to learn and grow.  

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